Towards the end of his long career, Ian Paisley so often shared a chuckle with Martin McGuinness that he became known as a “Chuckle Brother.”
I’ve been intensely critical of Paisley but I must admit that many found his readiness to enjoy a hearty chuckle quite an endearing quality, especially as the rest of the DUP didn’t get the joke! In a sense Paisley was also a “Chuckle Father.” As a ‘larger-than-life’ figure, for decades he was the inspiration for, and the butt of, endless jokes.
I’ve been told this one is based on a true story! One morning the Reverend was running so late that he didn’t have time to pray. He asked his driver if he minded them sharing a little prayer together as they drove along. The driver said that was fine with him. A few streets into their journey he finally plucked up the courage to ask, “Dr Paisley is it OK if I open my eyes now?”
Definitely an untrue story was about “The Doc” being in hospital. He was so ill that he had to be kept unconscious for a long time. When he finally came round, Eileen was waiting by his bedside. Big Ian was naturally keen to catch up with what had been happening. “Who won the Irish Cup,” he asked? “Linfield beat Cliftonville,” says Eileen. “Ah, that’s great,” says he, “and what was the score”? “Linfield 1-13, Cliftonville 0-9,” says Eileen!